Schnebly Hill Road

Sedona, Arizona (Coconino County)

Last Updated: 08/17/2020
3.9 / 5 ( 18 reviews )
Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: 04/01 - 12/15
Length: 11.14 miles
Highest Elevation: 6420 feet
Duration: About 3 hours
Shape of Trail: Straight Through
Best Direction to Travel: West
Nearest Town: Sedona
Nearest Town w/ Services: Sedona
Official Road Name: 153
Management Agency: Coconino National Forest
District: Red Rock Ranger District
Showing 0 trails within 2 miles

Highlights

Highlight: Schnebly Hill Road
“The finest workers in stone are not copper or steel tools, but the gentle touches of air and water working at their leisure with a liberal allowance of time,” said Thoreau in his 1854 book, Walden. He never saw Sedona. Sand dunes and seabed sediments were laid and then covered by more of the same over 300 million years ago. Under unimaginable compression, they became the sandstone we see today. A massive 3000-foot uplift 13 million years ago created the Mogollon Rim running from central New Mexico to western Arizona exposing the ancient sandstone layers. Walden’s gentle erosion took over. The ethereal beauty of Sedona’s many sandstone formations emerged. Today tourists from all over the world flock to charming and captivatingly scenic Sedona. Offroaders come too, running the many famous rocky trails in the area. Schnebly Hill Road is both a road and a rite of passage. The road itself is crowded and annoyingly bumpy on the descent from the Rim into Sedona. But the views always delight, all that red and buff sandstone formed into monuments ranging from massive to whimsical. Despite being a Jeep Badge of Honor Trail, Schnebly Hill Road is a once and done for many. But it is one that you need to do and will always remember, a touchstone of the community if you will. Thoreau never did Schnebly Hill Road. You should.

Video

Weather

7 day forecast for Schnebly Hill Road

Route Information

Technical Rating:
(MODERATE )

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Waypoints

1. Trailhead (0 mi)
There are several large pullouts to gather and organize your group or to air down.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 34.912000, -111.643233

Starting Point: Flagstaff

From the intersection of Interstates 17 and 40 in Flagstaff, drive 19.4 miles south on I-17 to and take Exit 320. Turn west to the trailhead. Alternately, from Sedona, near the intersection of SR 179 and Highway 89A is a roundabout. The northwest road out of the roundabout is Schnebly Hill Road. Continue on Schnebly Hill Road for a short distance until the pavement ends and the trail begins.

Camping

Dispersed

Trail Reviews (26)

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Took the trail from the I-17 trailhead going east to west. The ride through the trees on the upper rim is a peaceful, relaxing drive on a fairly smooth well maintained road. I feel this is the most scenic direction as the views of Sedona are ever present from the vista parking area to the end of the trail...for your passenger. The rough ride starts immediately after leaving the vista and there is no significant let up until the end of the trail. I am in a stock sport s with good a/t tires, and while there were no obstacles of any great difficulty, it is a relentlessly bumpy decent. If your diligent in watching your lines (as I was) it can be made without any scraping. Only saw about 10 or 12 other vehicles over the whole trail and had no problems with passing. The views are absolutely worth the pounding. But make no mistake, it is a rough slow descent.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
This trail offers stunning views. However, DO NOT attempt in a passenger vehicle. And if you plan on going with your SUV, make certain that you have good off-road tires. The road is VERY rocky and will destroy tires not designed for this. While the views were stunning, the rough and rocky road took away from the experience.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
I ran this trail because it’s a Badge of Honor Trail. The road is plenty wide for two vehicles to pass everywhere, but it is rough. I aired down to 12psi and it was far from smooth, but enjoyable. The views are unlike anything I can see at home, and I’m really glad I made time in my road trip to accommodate running this trail.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
This is a trip that you do once and check off. The difficult road conditions took the joy out of the trail. We started from the east end heading down into Sedona. The views are beautifully majestic. Trail filled with loose jagged rocks and frightening narrow shelf. We saw a lot of the local Pink Jeep tour groups and stock SUV with stock tires on the trail. We were unfortunate and got a flat even with aired down to 20/25psi front/rear on the new Toyo Open Country AT3s tires. Bad luck.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
I've run this more than a few times showing off my home state to visitors. The views never cease to impress. The bumpy ride into Sedona never gets any better. But if you ever camp off FR 153A on the Rim, you will understand why people come back here over and over again.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
This might be the first Jeep Badge Of Honor trail I wasn't sitting on the edge of my seat happy. The trail was alright but if in a built rig, it would have been a lot easier to drive through the trail to then run it backwards. The last bit was the best views, but was bumpy (Not hard). Most people never shifted into 4wd and I have a friend that drove their Prius on the trail. Thus great views which makes it worth it, if you like to camp, that would also be a huge bonus. Probably wouldn't do this trail again unless someone wanted to.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Trail wasn’t busy as we drove it on a Thursday. Its not a difficult trail, it’s just very bumpy with all the rocks, which half way through it just isn’t enjoyable anymore. It does offer great views. It’s one of those trails you do once and don’t have to ever do again.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
With the idea of this being a Jeep Badge of Honor Trail, I had high hopes. I guess high hopes ruin about 50% of things you had high hopes for. While the views were fantastic - 5 star in my opinion, the crowds were pretty thick. I think if you want to do this road and really enjoy it, go mid-week! I would also suggest that people understand that not the entire trail wants to hear your music :) We all have our tastes, and this day, my type of music was not playing from the passerby's.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Not sure why Jeep picked this one as a Jeep Badge of Honor trail honestly. Clogged with UTVs, not technical, and just bumpy the entire time. Tons of people made this trail hard to enjoy. Sure the scenery is beautiful in parts, but once was enough for me.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Fun Easy Trail, Little Rough, make sure you have good Tires.

Author:
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Still closed 4 miles in.

Author:
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Only 4 miles open. No camping in the first 4 miles.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Made a run down this trail with a couple other rigs at sunset and, not to beat a dead horse but, the views were outstanding. As other reviewers noted, the trail certainly is a rocky roller coaster from end to end, although not too challenging. For vehicles with little ground clearance, there were a couple rocky ledges that might have posed a problem, but there were usually ways around most of the obstacles.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
This trail is all about the scenery. I mean, The trail is quite rough, and there are some areas with larger rocks to get through but, if the road is dry, it is nothing that can’t be handled by an AWD stock SUV or Subaru with careful driving. Now if the road is wet and muddy, all bets are off. Whatever effort you need to put into getting up the trail, you will be handsomely rewarded with some of the most spectacular views you will find anywhere.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
My wife and I had a blast driving the trail from Sedona up to I-17 then headed into Flagstaff for more fun. I am driving a stock 2016 Jeep Wrangler Oscar Mike edition with no added lift but good Wrangler Duratrac tires. The first several miles of the trail has not been maintained so it is very rough, rocky and rutted. I aired down only to about 25lbs because I knew I could go a couple miles up I-17 to a gas station and air back up for the rest of the trip. We took it very slow because it was a weekday with very little traffic or Jeep tours out of Sedona. We stopped several times to relax and view the beautiful Red Rocks. The last few miles of the trail up to I-17 was much easier driving with a more well maintained and/or recently graded road. The views are amazing all of the way through this trail. If you go on a weekday like we did, you won'[t see too many Jeep tours out of Sedona on the road. There is plenty of room on the trail for passing so no worries there. They only go about 1/2 of the trail to the view point and then go back to Sedona making the last 1/2 of the trail more private. We saw nobody else on the back half. I will surely be back to do it again with people who come visit us in AZ.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
What a great trail if you've got a few hours and are in the Sedona area. Not the most technical trail, but as my daughter said, "is this a trail or a roller coaster?" In dry weather, this trail is rocky and rough from start to finish, but take your time and enjoy some incredible views! Temps up the trail will be 5-10 degrees cooler than in Sedona, so plan accordingly.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
My wife and I went to Sedona for our anniversary. We ended up driving up Schnebly Hill Road. It started as a late afternoon run that ended as a night run. We had a blast. Great trail, Great views. Highly recommended.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Great trail. In the winter come in from Sedona. The upper trail is closed from Dec to Apr. Did the run from Sedona to the turn around (about 4 miles in). Great trail nothing hard but a bit bumpy. Watch for the pink jeep traffic.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Schnebly Hill is a fun ride, especially if you are driving people people who are new to Arizona and off-roading. It takes about an hour, on a non-busy day. But I would recommend taking your time and taking in the sights. There is a nice overlook, called the Schnebly Hill Vista. This trail is accessible from both the I-17 Schnebly Hill exit - heading into Sedona, or you can go into Sedona and head toward the I-17. Most traffic is from Sedona Jeep companies that only go form Sedona to the Vista and back into town. If going I-17 to Sedona, the route could be extremely muddy after rain and or snow. Usually will be shut down if there are snow storms. Would recommend deflating tires because once you get to the Vista the route becomes more rocky and will shake ya to death if your suspension is extremely hard. Also this trial is a Jeep "Badge of Honor" trail from the Jeep app.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Went up to the Hangover Trail parking area. Pretty rocky. If you have don't have AT/LT tires you might run into problems otherwise 2wd and no issues. Beautiful area.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
We took this trail from Sedona to I 17. It was very rough and rocky. There are definitely some challenging spots on the road for a person new to four wheeling. It took us about 2 hours to do the whole road. It is very beautiful!

Author:
Status: Seasonal Closure
Offroaded on:
Checked the Coconino Forest Service website for road closures and it this was marked Opened. Tried to go on this trail, but soon as you hit the trail a road closure sign welcomes you. Talked to a Forest Service employee who was on the trial and is unfortunately is closed for the winter.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Just a quick report about Schnebly from I-17 to the Scenic Overlook. (I was headed to 153A for camping so I didn't go all the way down to sedona). The first 3-4 Miles seem to have been recently 'conditioned' by a road grader and presented not even the slightest bump. But once you cross the lake, and head up the hill to the long strait away, The rocky conditions worsened. Some mud rutting was present on the long strait away that has camp spots on either side. The hill past the start of Hot Loop, to it's exit at 153A was rutted, rocky and kidney jarring. (Rocks and Mud ruts). However, there was a Hyundai driving down it so it's gotta be rated as EASY.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Yep, the road is still here! It also looked like it has been somewhat maintained with some of the larger obstacles now having some dirt and rock filled in to make them less of an obstacle. Even some of the man-holes along the lower portions of the road were being re-done. I also hit [Hot Loop](http://www.trailsoffroad.com/trails/1169-hot-loop) and [Jack's Canyon Road](http://www.trailsoffroad.com/trails/1461-jacks-canyon-road) while on this trip.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
WOW. What a great trip. We went looking for some snow up I-17 headed towards Flagstaff and when we saw Schnebly Hill Rd we decided to take it down to Sedona and run the Broken Arrow Trail. You should check that out too! When we started off it had a good amount of snow. This is Arizona haha. It was very peaceful and the air smelled so fresh and crisp. There were some fresh tracks to follow and the views of the snow covered trees was a delight. As we started to head down on the shelf road the canyon views were amazing. There was still lots of snow at this point so I did not get any good pics. The road was narrow for having snow on it and if someone was coming up we did not want to be in the way. About half way down the snow started to go away and it was a muddy road after that. It was a great start to a great day!!!

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
I traveled to Schnebly Hill Road from I17 to Schnebly Hill Vista. The road was very muddy due to recent rains. The condition of the trail highlights the change of difficulty due to inclement weather. Make sure to plan ahead and check weather/road conditions before visiting Schnebly Hill Road.

Questions & Answers (2)

Q: Is this trail considered more difficult if you travel from Sedona to the I-17 freeway or does it matter?
–Jon Sauber (05/08/2020)
–S.J. Hollist (05/09/2020)
Q: Is this trail not open after April 1st? The open dates say 12/15-4/1.
–Ryan Boudreau (02/21/2019)
–S.J. Hollist (07/12/2019)
–Jim Long (02/22/2019)
–Chuck Brinkley (02/22/2019)

Writer Information

Wade May


Hi! I'm Wade. After 43 years as a pilot, split evenly between flying fighters for the Air Force and Boeing 737s for the airlines, my feet are firmly planted on the ground. Seems I spent a lot of my flying time looking out the cockpit window thinking, "Yep, I could drive that trail." My trips range from a few days to a month. Most are solo in my silver 4Runner named Bullit. We range over all the southwest exploring remote places and trying to get as much dirt under the wheels as possible. Occasionally I get in some hiking, backpacking, and bushcraft as well. My most ambitious overlanding plans include a trip to Tuktoyaktuk and Dead Horse. Sharing my experiences as a member of the Trails Offroad crew is a true pleasure. Hope to see you on the trail soon.
For individual use only, not to be shared.